I think many a parent’s desire to get their child’s heart has caused them to talk too much to their young children. Young children are very black and white, just tell them what to do and require them to do it. Too many words will actually muddle their understanding. Both in rebuke or explanation a young child tends to block out too many words. They hear the tone, not the point.
Once a child obeys cheerfully, then we can start to instill our
reasons and pass on the wisdom behind our reasons. Still, I believe explanations work best during non-conflict conversation times. In the heat of the matter, most children just want to move on. Conversing later allows back and forth discussion.
Proverbs has some key points to remember:
Proverbs 29: 19 “A servant cannot be corrected by mere words;
though he understands, he will not respond.”
Too often we think if a child gets a good talkin’ to they’ll change. We cannot just talk at our children, they may understand, but if we do not enforce our words, they will not respond.
Proverbs 10: 19 “When words are many, sin is not
In our emotional state we tend to want to see change right now
and think more force in our words will bring about that change. What this leads to is frustration and anger. More words are not the answer to more understanding.
Ecc. 6: 11 “The more the words, the less the meaning, and how
does that profit anyone?”
That is exactly what I am trying to say. When children need correction try to keep the words few and to the point.
First comes obedience, and then comes understanding. Isn’t it the
same with us and God? We do what He says and then the wisdom of His ways becomes clearer. Some commands we understand; other commands require pure obedience out of love for the Father, because our bodies are crying something else. Children too must learn to obey us this way.
While children are young, focus on obedience. There will be plenty of time when they are older to give them the reasons why. Always reference the Bible as your source, but more explaining than that can come later. Having a young child’s heart looks like cheerful obedience.